NHL Hockey: Vegas Golden Knights vs. Montreal Canadiens Game 6 Preview and Odds - 06/22/2021

by Alec McMordie

The Golden Knights evened their semifinals series with the Canadiens at 2-2 with their 2-1 victory in overtime in Montreal on Sunday. It was the second straight game to go to overtime in this series. 

Montreal got on the board first when Paul Byron scored just over one minute remaining in the first period. After a scoreless second period with the Canadiens owning a 20-12 advantage in shot attempts, Brayden McNabb evened the score for Vegas with a goal at the 10:37 mark of the third period. Nicolas Ray scored the game-winner for the Knights just 1:18 minutes into overtime. 

Golden Knights’ head coach Peter DeBoer made the heavily-scrutinized decision to turn to Robin Lehner in goal for Game 4. Lehner had not played since allowing seven goals in a 7-1 loss to Colorado in Game 1 of their West Division finals series on May 30th. DeBoer defended the move because Marc-Andre Fleury seemed fatigued. The 36-year-old has played the most minutes between the pipes of any goaltender in the postseason. Lehner rewarded his coach’s faith with 27 saves, including a one-on-one breakaway from the Canadiens’ Cole Caufield that would have given Montreal a 2-0 lead midway through the third period. McNabb’s game-tying goal came soon after. 

DeBoer has yet to announce who he will choose to be his goaltender for Game 5 back in Las Vegas. Lehner’s playoff numbers are still unappealing with just his effort on Sunday to begin improving his numbers from his disastrous start in Colorado. He has a 3.97 goals-against-average and an .877 save percentage. During the regular season, Lehner had a 2.27 goals-against-average and a .913 save percentage. Fleury has a 1.97 goals-against-average and a .921 save percentage in 15 postseason starts this year.

Max Pacioretty assisted on the Roy goal in overtime. That result was just the second combined point in the series between Mark Stone and Pacioretty. The top-line forward duo has not played with center Chandler Stephenson in the last two games due to an upper-body injury. Stephenson is listed as questionable for Game 5, although DeBoer has said his return is “on the horizon.”

Second-line center William Karlsson leads the team with 14 points in the playoffs from four goals and ten assists. Alex Pietrangelo is second on the team with 11 points from four goals and seven assists. Pacioretty has added four goals and six assists. 

The Vegas blue-line has scored seven of their ten goals in this series. In their last eight games, the Knights' defense has contributed nine goals and 16 assists. 

Carey Price made 19 saves in the loss. He has a 10-5 record in the playoffs with a 2.09 goals-against-average and a .931 save percentage. 

Tyler Toffoli leads the team with 12 points coming from five goals and seven assists in the postseason. Nick Suzuki has scored four goals while adding six assists. Joel Armia and Corey Perry each have eight points. 

Left wing Tomas Tatar has been upgraded to questionable with the injury that has kept him out of action. Jake Evans remains questionable to return to the ice as he continues to go through the concussion protocol.

Canadiens’ head coach Dominique Ducharme will remain in COVID quarantine for the rest of this series after testing positive last week. Luke Richardson has the head coach bench duties in his absence. Golden Knights’ general manager Kelly McCrimmon has also tested positive for COVID. 

BetAnySports lists Vegas as a -220 money line favorite with the total set at 5.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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